Dear Friends, I’m writing to you from my sick bed.
Sick bed. I sound all melodramatic, don’t I? Meditations from a sick bed. I mean, could I have come up with a more syrupy, melodramatic title? I think not. Somebody bring me my smelling salts!!!!!!
I have a cold. But I’m pretty sure I have a cancerous tumor growing in my sinuses. Also, my muscles ache. I’ve been flailing about in my bed, staring at the ceiling and pondering my horrible fate. A cold. I’ve been felled by my sinuses. ‘
Suffering is so annoying! It messes with all my carefully laid plans! Suffering. Yes, I said suffering. I am suffering, people. My suffering! My preciousssssss!
Wow, cold medicine really goes to the head, huh?
As I was flailing about trying to find meaning to my “suffering,” I pulled out my little book of quotes and stumbled across this:
Many would be willing to have afflictions provided that they not be inconvenienced by them.
–St. Francis de Sales
Oh, hello, conscience.
My real problem with suffering is that it’s terribly inconvenient. I would prefer that afflictions happen on MY schedule, thankyouverymuch. How DARE suffering INTERRUPT my almighty plans and schedules, to-do lists and carefully plotted timelines! The nerve!
What if this affliction prevents me from hitting my writing deadline? What if it impedes my career path? What if these “light afflictions” totally mess up my entire life? What if I can’t CONTROL EVERYTHING?!
Aye, there’s the rub. This is what the ill know well: they are not in control.
[Excuse me for a moment while I blow my nose and hack up a lung]
*lots of deathly, hacking, snot-noises*
That’s better. Now, where was I? Oh, yes. Inconvenience.
Isn’t that really the crux of this life of faith? It’s inconvenient to love other people (human beings rarely behave according to our expectations of them! so annoying!). It’s inconvenient to pick up my cross daily (also, we don’t get to pick our crosses–I mean, otherwise I would DEFINITELY NOT have picked being sick today!).
It’s inconvenient to follow Jesus.
It’s not difficult.
All that’s required is a letting go. A surrender. A calm acquiescence that I’m not in control and that’s OK. My schedule, my plans, my to-do lists, my ideas about how my life should go—all these things I can simply surrender to the loving care of God who can take care of my to-do list better than I can.
This is faith: freedom from fear, freedom from needing to control everything, freedom from the driving need to be “PRODUCTIVE!,” freedom from resisting.
I am human. I am sick.
I am retiring to my sick bed.